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Posts Tagged ‘precision farming’

Factory Farms Drive Technology Adoption and Sustainability Improvements

By Chris Rhodes

There was a refreshing op-ed piece in the New York Times a few weeks ago.  Typically when city-based media focus their energy on agriculture, the focus is on organic labels, artisanal foods, and craft beers – forgetting about the real work of feeding a growing population of seven billion people.  In the article, author Jayson Lusk talked about how technology is enabling fewer farmers, on less land, with a smaller environmental footprint get the work done to feed more people better food.  He highlighted that in the 1950’s farm technology would have required 180 million acres to produce the same amount of soy that is produced on 80 million US acres today, and that it would require a whopping 308 million acres to produce the corn that is currently grown on 80 million acres.  Without the technology that creates this kind of efficiency, we would not be able to feed the current population—80% of whom now live in cities.

In addition to the focus on productivity, it was nice to see an article that admits that there is no group of people who love the land more, and are better stewards of the land, than farmers.  Jayson points out that the term ‘Factory Farm’ is generally used as a pejorative, but that most farms are actually still owned by families.  He also points out that it is precisely the attention to detail, and the scale of the ‘Factory Farm’ that allows for the technology development and use that drives down the ecological cost of farming while still feeding the world.  It’s these larger farms that are driving the adoption of technology that reduces the use of water and chemicals and that allows for the low- and no-till cropping that has reduced soil erosion 40% since the 1980’s.

Finally, Jayson alludes to the immense complexity that comes with bringing together a bunch of different types of technology.  That complexity remains one of the main stumbling blocks of technology adoption, but not one that can’t be overcome.  A continued focus on driving technology through mobile devices and on connecting technology more openly will ensure that the strides we are making with technology will continue to deliver the productivity and environmental benefits we have been seeing over the last couple of decades.

For more information about how AGCO solutions are helping growers large and small become more efficient, visit www.AGCOcorp.com/Fuse.

Chris Rhodes is the Global Director of Commercial ATS (Advanced Technology Solutions) and Partnerships for Fuse®, AGCO’s next generation approach to precision farming. Chris helps ensure the delivery of Fuse technologies and services to our customers and the advancement of the Fuse open approach through industry partnerships and strategic alliances.

Increasing Precision Agriculture Technology Adoption

By Amanda Wemette

At some point during your education or business training, you may have heard of the technology adoption theory called “Diffusion of innovations” by Everett Rogers, which categorizes technology adopters in five stages: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. This theory has been applied to many industries, from consumer gadgets to business solutions. When it comes to precision farming, the adoption of new technologies can often be met with skepticism and a “let’s see where this goes first” attitude. This is understandable, given the rate at which technology changes and the resources required to implement new farming tech, from purchasing to training.

Diffusion of innovations

Rogers Everett – Based on Rogers, E. (1962) Diffusion of innovations. Free Press, London, NY, USA.

Some technologies, such as automatic guidance, are widely used and in the last stages of the adoption curve. The benefits of automatic guidance are well known and accepted. But what about the constant flow of new precision farming technology innovations? What makes growers confident enough to turn from “Laggards” into “Early Adopters” or “Early Majority”?

As this 2013 study notes, “Farmers appreciate in-field demonstrations, free trials, [and] support services related to the use of new technologies, as they promote the perception that the use of a technology is easy.” Communicating the value, or return, on precision farming products and services is also helpful, as is traditional word of mouth marketing. Hearing from one’s peers helps to validate the buying decision. In fact, word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20 to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions. This can come in the form of neighbors sharing best practices over dinner, or through reading and viewing customer testimonials. A little assurance can go a long way.

What influences your precision farming technology buying decisions? Tweet @AGCOcorp and let us know.

 

Amanda Wemette is a Sr. Marketing Communications Specialist for AGCO’s Global Advanced Technology Solutions group (Fuse). Connect with Amanda on Twitter @AmandaWemette 

What can precision agriculture do for you?

By: Amanda Wemette

Precision agriculture technologies can provide multiple benefits to producers through input savings, improved time, labor and equipment management, and environmental benefits. Automatic section control (ASC) technology, available for use on sprayers, planters, spreaders, and other application equipment, works by automatically turning sections of equipment off in areas where inputs have been previously applied or in unwanted zones (e.g. environmentally sensitive areas such as grassed waterways).

Research at Auburn University found that ASC can provide a 4.3% average savings on inputs with a payback period of less than 2 years for most application equipment. These savings are a result of reduced overlap at headlands and within point rows. In return, farmers can expect savings between $1.50/ac/yr to $25.00/ac/yr for this technology depending upon crop, management, and field shape and size.

Automatic guidance systems, which reduce overlap and input usage, can save approximately 10% on input savings with farmers seeing a possible 15% to 30% overall savings when using both ASC and automatic guidance systems together. Additional benefits of automatic guidance systems include reducing the concentration time needed during driving, which in turn leads to less fatigue and an increased ability to focus on other tasks.

Yield maps can be used not only to evaluate current and new management practices, but also as a data source for development of site-specific management strategies (e.g. management zones, variable-rate seeding and nutrient prescription maps, etc.).

Furthermore, the adoption of variable-rate technology to vary inputs can provide additional savings and yield benefits to producers by placing the ideal amount of inputs in the right place.

With machine and fleet management, you gain a higher level of understanding about the efficiency, performance and logistics of your entire operation from a computer or mobile device – putting fleet and asset information at your fingertips and enabling you to make big-picture decisions about your operation.

Amanda Wemette is a Sr. Marketing Communications Specialist for AGCO’s Advanced Technology Solutions group, focusing on bringing AGCO’s Fuse precision farming technologies and services to market . Connect with Amanda on Twitter @AmandaWemette.

To see the benefits of precision agriculture, try our simple payback calculator.

Payback_Screenshot

A sample shot of the editable ROI Calculator

 

For more information on AGCO’s precision farming products, data management policy and Fuse Connected Services, please visit www.AGCOcorp.com/Fuse.

 

Sources: http://nydairyadmin.cce.cornell.edu/pdf/submission/pdf161_pdf.pdf

http://www.precisionag.com/works/institute/eight-of-10-adopters-say-precision-agriculture-pays/

http://www.precisionag.com/works/institute/precision-agriculture-higher-profit-lower-cost/

What does IoT on the Farm even mean?

By: Ben Craker

Recently I had the opportunity to talk with Kevin Harwood and Ryan Considine, the hosts of Mutual Mobile’s Tech Table podcast. Mutual Mobile is a consulting firm specializing in mobile solutions and is one of AGCO’s key partnerships for delivering best-in-class precision farming technology solutions to AGCO’s customers and dealers. Normally the podcasts feature guests discussing topics related to Android, iOS, the web and where new technology is headed. For my recent visit the hosts branched out a little to learn how farm technologies are changing, and the impact the Internet of Things (IoT) will have on the day to day life of the average farmer. We talked about how products like Auto-Guide™ and VarioGuide have become must-haves for farm operations of nearly any size.

Data, of course, was a main topic of discussion. We talked about the coming evolution in the way farms are managed, such as how innovative products like Go-Task™ and VarioDoc allow farmers to get information to and from machines easily so they can pass it securely to the software tools and trusted advisors they choose. Enabling data to flow to the right places for quick and accurate analysis will enable growers to manage their fields on a nearly plant by plant basis. We also discussed how the stream of information coming off machines and into tools like AgCommand® will allow new levels of uptime and productivity. Should farmers elect to share this machine information with their dealers, a new level of uptime can be unlocked through remote monitoring and analysis of machine performance.

So if you are interested in technology and the future of farming from data to drones, check out the February Tech Table podcast from Mutual Mobile to see what we discussed. There is also a great archive of other podcasts covering a wide variety of technology innovation with topics like the connected car, the Internet of Things and technology in healthcare.

For more information about Fuse, AGCO’s open approach to precision agriculture, visit www.AGCOcorp.com/Fuse.

Ben Craker is a Manager of Product Management Data, Partners and Standards for AGCO’s Advanced Technology Solutions group. Connect with Ben on Twitter @crakerb.

It’s not your grandpa’s farm anymore…or is it?

By:  Melissa Runge

We have all seen the stereotype of a farmer being portrayed as an older gentleman with a pitchfork in his hand, right? Indeed, if you were to glance at the 2012 US Census of Agriculture report, it would quickly become apparent that some of those stereotypical characteristics are in fact true. This study reported the average age of a principal farm owner in 2012 was 58.3 years old which is up from the average age of 57.1 years in 2007. This increase in the average age of principal owners has been a trend for more than 30 years, with no perceptible reversal in sight. While most farmers are older than the average population, that doesn’t mean he is carrying a pitchfork; think more along the lines of an iPad.

What does this mean for the farming business?  It means those who are farming are getting older and younger farmers are not lining up to enter the business. Times are changing and equipment manufacturers have an obligation to farmers to provide products that ensure this business stays relevant and exciting while not only providing value to existing customers but also attracting new customers. As with most generations, the younger set considers cash as the most important perk of a job. In 2013, Ernst & Young conducted a survey to determine which characteristics were prevalent by generation.  This survey included 1,215 cross-company professionals and grouped them into three categories:  Millennials–ages 18-32, Generation X–ages 33-48 and Boomers–ages 49-57.  Overwhelmingly it showed that cash is still the king of perks.

All of this research suggests that younger generations aren’t lining up to enter the business of large acreage farming for one reason: LACK OF CASH. Not only is it expensive to start a farming operation, if grandpa wasn’t in the business, young people are even less likely to jump into farming.  According to a 2016 report from Iowa State University which estimates the costs of crop production in Iowa, the average cost to farm an acre of land was between approximately $600 and $800 per acre. This includes the cost of machinery, seeds, chemicals, labor and land.  These ongoing costs are quite substantial and do not include any startup costs, and taken together, they are proving to be intimidating to a young farmer.

AGCO understands the need to attract these potential customers, the young farmer, but also to make our existing customers, including the seasoned farmer, more successful.  One way this can happen is through technology. Let’s face it: technology is here to stay and we must embrace it no matter what industry or generation we are in. We are all guilty of getting lost in our phone or computer from time to time; however, for Millennials this is how business is conducted. According to that same Ernst & Young survey, Millennials are regarded as the most tech savvy generation (78%) compared to Generation X (18%) and Boomers (4%). As AGCO continues to grow our Fuse Technologies product portfolio and dealers offer Fuse Connected Services, it is imperative that we keep these characteristics in mind.

By not only introducing new and updated Fuse technologies including guidance, telematics and applications to optimize the farm, the introduction of Fuse Connected Services provides customers service and support to ensure these products are being used correctly. These technologies and services are allowing farms to become more and more technology-driven, which suits the younger, future farmer demographic while also optimizing the farms of existing farmers to improve yields and profitability. melissa blog

The end result for our customers of all generations will be the same– INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY AND INCREASED PROFIT which in turn will attract more new farmers into the business and keep farming relevant and exciting.

For more information on AGCO’s precision farming products, data management policy and Fuse Connected Services, please visit www.agcocorp.com/Fuse.

Melissa Runge is the global program manager for AGCO’s Advanced Technology Solutions group.

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